Divorce is often a contentious matter. Emotions can get in the way and cloud one’s judgment. Tensions run even higher for couples with a high net worth. There’s more at stake when it comes to property division, child support, and spousal support. High net worth divorce differs from standard divorce in many ways. Our divorce attorneys discuss some of these ways below.
Property Division & High Net Worth Divorce
Couples with a high net worth have more property and assets than the standard couple going through a divorce. This means that the division of property is far more complicated, and often, more tumultuous. It requires much more attention to ensure both parties are satisfied with the outcome.
California is known as a community property state. This means that assets and debts acquired during marriage are considered community property and are divided evenly between the parties.. The marital estate can include family homes, family businesses, retirement accounts, 401ks, pensions, IRAs, vacation homes, and any investment properties among other things. It can also include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and offshore accounts, among other assets such as jewelry and personal effects. Often, the way in which the assets are divided is determined by the Court because high net worth marriages have complicated issues such as reimbursement claims, separate property claims, and other considerations. This process often causes resentment, especially if one party contributed to the finances more than the other. Legal fees can also run higher as couples with a high net worth typically require longer legal assistance to sort property division out, which can rack up lawyer fees and court fees.
Often in marriages with a high net worth, there is a disparity in income between the two parties. In these cases, spousal support may be necessary. In California, the courts are not under any obligation to provide spousal support, but if there is a discrepancy in income between the two parties, it will often be awarded. The amount and frequency of the payments are subject to change and vary case by case. In California, the courts usually award two types of alimony – temporary alimony and permanent alimony. They can also award lump-sum alimony and rehabilitative alimony. The courts may deem larger support payments in a high net worth case based on what they view as fair according to the couple’s standard of living during the marriage. This can be a costly decision for spouses who own their own businesses as court discretion rules heavy over standard calculations that apply to smaller estates.
Child Support in a High Net Worth Divorce
Child support is different in high net worth cases as well as there are typically expenses that don’t apply to smaller income households. Children who come from a high net worth family typically have expenses such as private school, boarding school, or expensive competitive sports training or other extracurricular activities. Trusts are also frequently involved in these cases. As with spousal support, the judges will determine when the payments are due. Whereas in lower income brackets, there are standard calculations the courts typically rely on, in larger asset estates, court discretion is more heavily relied on for additional children’s expenses.
Get An Experienced Attorney On Your Side
High net worth divorce is typically a longer and more costly process than standard divorce proceedings. If you expect to be involved in a contentious high net worth divorce, you need the best divorce attorney on your side. Our law firm, serving San Jose, Santa Clara and the Greater Bay Area Counties, has extensive experience managing high net worth divorce cases. We offer free 30-minute consultations to those in need. Set up your consultation with Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri by clicking here.